Thursday, October 10, 2013

Help! I'm having issues finding a good Natural Hair Stylist?



Okay ladies, how many times have you heard/read that a stylist does natural hair only to show up for your appointment and have them  treat your hair like it's the enemy?  I've been hearing this complaint a lot lately and quite frankly it really makes me frustrated  for my  natural sisters. I have heard some pretty shocking stories.  From one stylist actually putting a texture softener on her natural client's hair (without her knowledge) to stylists complaining and telling their natural clients that they should flat iron their hair more often to make their job easier.  It's crazy!?  I am writing this post for two reasons.  One is to help  you in your search to find a  natural hair care professional that you'll love, and to help those in the profession become a better match.   

I feel I can write this because I am a licensed Natural Hair Care professional, and I have also been the client. (We don't always feel like doing our own hair and would like to be able to trust someone else). I've been exposed  on both sides, and as the client I will say it's a little rough out there  for us naturals.    

As a client, I believe it is important to fully interview the person you are considering for your natural hair care or as your stylists. Just because a person say they "do" natural hair it does not mean that they are willing to do what you want them to.  Have you ever inquired about a natural style with your stylists and they proceed to talk you into having your hair flat ironed?  How about  your wash and detangle? Do they wash your hair in sections or insist on washing your hair as one big mass only to look shocked and confused when your hair end up in a thousand tangles? Yep that happened to me) Or how about them wanting to cut 4 to 5 inches of ends off because they just flat ironed your hair and the ends didn't straighten out like they wanted them to?(yep just chalk it up to having 5 inches of split ends!) 


Lord help us. Look, we can prevent a lot of this if we fully interview the stylist before ever booking an appointment. Make them aware of your hair texture and the characteristics of your hair. Make sure they understand what you expect. Ask them about their experience and the different hair types and styles they are accustom  to dealing with.  Ask them how they wash, detangle, etc. Their responses will help you decided if you should book or not!  The time and patience it takes to care for natural hair will vary from client to client. I know this all too well. Some clients I can have in and out and others will take longer depending on the service and their hair type.  If you get the sense that your potential stylist isn't  listening well then that is a  big RED FLAG.  They also should be willing to discuss these things with you. Remember this is your hair,  and you are  a potential "paying" customer .   

So here is the Breakdown!  


 Fully research the stylist's website 

Make sure that you have fully reviewed their list of services along with their photo gallery. If a stylists says to you, "I do natural hair" and all you see in their gallery is flat ironed hair and weaved up heads, you should probably ask for specifics and details to make sure that you will be getting what you want. 


Place hair care above styling 

 It  helps to seek out a  stylist that specialize in natural "healthy hair care ." There are a ton of stylists that can style hair but how will they handle and care for it? If your hair is all damaged in the end was the style really worth it? I had a client share that her head was roughed up so bad once that another stylist in the salon notice the treatment of her hair and called out the natural stylist who was working on her.  Her stylist's response was "she knew what she was getting into when she came in here!" Wow?!  Please don't ever feel like you have to take that kind of treatment, even if you have to do your own hair until you find someone who will respect you and your hair, do that.   

Is the stylist natural?

 Check to see if your stylist is natural, and if they are wearing their own hair most of the time. This can help you gauge.  Someone who puts a lot of care into their own natural hair will also have more patience and understanding when dealing with yours. 

Referrals

 Look for real life referrals and testimonies of people who have visited this particular professional.  I know this sounds like a lot but your hair and your wallet will thank you for it!  I meet women who have hopped from salon to salon looking for someone who really cares about their hair and they suffer in the process. If you see a natural on the street with nice hair, ask if someone else does her hair. If the answer is yes, ask her as many questions as she will allow you to about her stylist.     

The stylist should ask you questions

As a natural hair care professional I make sure that I always consult with my client on some level before I ever lay hands to their heads. I ask them about their history of hair care as well as what they are expecting from their service. I want to make sure they understand what I have to offer, and what I don't offer.  This way, neither one of us is disappointed or frustrated. They should want to know certain things about your hair first. 

Natural hair care expense

Yes visiting a natural stylist can be expensive for some. Expect that when having a natural stylist do your hair the pricing may vary  depending on your length and thickness because that will factor into the amount of time they will be servicing you. I place a price range on certain services on my site, so there are no surprises.  It's not cheap to visit most natural salons and I would have to say the prices are probably set this way because some of these services are very time consuming. If you are on a budget do as much of the work your self (i.e. the wash and detangle before coming to the salon), and only book the style. Clarify if the cost to style is separate from the wash. Proper prepping of your own hair  can save you time and money.  

Have a full  blown conversation 

 If you don't take away anything else, just remember to not leave anything to chance. Ask as many questions as you can think of. Make the stylist have a conversation with you, so that you can get a feel for your compatibility, and this should lesson your chances of a bad experience!  And if they don't want to talk in depth with you about these things, I think you better take that as your que! 


So that's it! I feel I needed to  write this because I hear these complaints so often, hopefully some of these insights will help you in your continued search for a stylist that will respect and love your natural hair. 


Well until next time!! 

5 comments:

Jan Lewis said...

There's a beauty parlor a few doors down from my kids' daycare. I was getting out of my car one day as the stylist was walking through the door. I was still transitioning and was trying to figure out if I wanted to do my BC myself or get it done by a professional. I asked her if she ever worked with natural hair. She quickly said yes, but as we were talking I was taking in her relaxed hair with phony pony. Then she made the comment, "I tried going natural, but I couldn't do it. It's not for everyone." When I made it clear that all I was looking for was a BC she mentioned that she could do that and flat iron it to make it look nice, too. I took her card, but never called her. I knew she wasn't the one. Eventually my niece who had graduated from beauty school, but hadn't gotten a job yet did my BC, but I've been doing my own hair ever since.

Chan said...

Hi Jan! Thanks for commenting. Ha! You were very smart of you to do that! Many women disregard those natural instincts that they have and decide to take a chance and in most cases end up regretting their decision months down the line, because of heat damage. I received quite a few clients who went that route post bc because they thought it was their only option to "look nice" Most of them have severe heat damage and say they wish they would have known there were other options earlier on.

nappy headed black girl said...

My favorites are word of mouth and actually talking to the stylist. Just because they say they do natural hair doesn't mean they actually do lol

And Jan, it's so telling that that stylist recommended flat ironing right after a BC. I mean, really?

Chan said...

@nappy headed black girl. Yes! Its best to get a recommendation from people you know and trust. And when you speak with them that tells you so much!

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